Sunday, October 16, 2011


Jordan and I have this really weird love. It's for Duke's Mayonnaise. It's made in our hometown, it's "the secret of great southern cooks," and we think it's just delicious. Especially my lovely husband. So knowing of this love, my mom decided to send us some mayo to cheer us up (haha) in Australia. This was probably back in February. Well, our mayo was quarantined by the Australian government because apparently our eggs might contaminate the whole country and therefore we were to never enjoy our favorite sandwich condiment. 

However, my mom's lovely best friend found out about this, and similarly to us, was outraged! You see, her father was a chicken farmer and therefore made his living off of eggs and other chicken products. When she heard that Australia didn't appreciate our eggs, she and her father set out to hatch a plan (ha) to get us some of this tasty spread. After some time of scheming, they determined they would wrap the mayo as Easter presents, packaged inside an larger Easter box, in an Easter tin (I know, I should have posted this months ago). But they got extra sneaky (and to prevent them from having to lie when stating what was in the package - smart and honest people that they are!) and included a decoy in the box too. An unwrapped, unashamed mayo that would inevitably be a sacrifice for the other mayos to make it to us unquarantined. 

Well, for some reason I guess the box inspectors were feeling lazy that day and all three containers (the decoy and the two Easter presents) made it to us! We were so shocked and excited because they hadn't revealed their plan to us before sending the package! I wanted to properly recognize their heroic acts to get my desperate husband his Duke's. This week we have finished the last container and I think we both died inside a bit when we bought a new jar of sub-par Australian mayonnaise that most certainly is not the secret of great Southern cooks. And for the record, our eggs have definitely not contaminated this country.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Green Apple and Bleu Grilled Cheese

I made this sandwich the other night for us when I had a bit of bleu cheese leftover. They were really tasty and though this isn't as much of a recipe as it is a suggestion of a flavor combination, I thought they were good enough to share! The side salad is simply the same ingredients from the sandwiches, just made into a salad with some chopped pecans and a drizzle of olive oil and red wine vinegar. Hope you enjoy these if you try them - and are inspired to be creative with ingredients you have on hand!


Slices of sourdough or other artisan bread
Thin apple slices
Shredded Mozzarella cheese
Crumbled Bleu Cheese
Mayo, if desired
Salt and Pepper
Butter (I would use spray butter if I was at home since it has zero calories but grills well)

Build sandwiches by spreading bread with a thin layer of mayo and sprinkling with salt and pepper. Add desired amount of mozzarella cheese, bleu cheese, and top with apple slices and arugula. Spread (or spray!) butter on the outside and grill. :)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Sky Deck + George

Like I said before, Jordan's friend George has been visiting. He's now in Sydney and will be traveling more before he comes back to Melbourne in a couple weeks, but here's a few pictures from last Sunday! We went to the Queen Vic Market and the Sky Deck. It was a really nice day and it was fun to do something we hadn't done before. That seems to happen more when people come visit us!

Obviously disgusted at the pig parts at the market

I love me a good ox tongue - and at such an affordable price! YUCK!

Love this of them on the tram

Beautiful St. Pauls. The centre of the city.

So glad for George to visit!

Get excited about the Sky Deck!

Loved the side of this building!

Never knew the bay was so close! Can't usually see it. 

From the 88th floor. Last picture before my camera died. :(

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Sugar Cookie Bar Variations: Strawberry Kiwi Sugar Cookie Cupcakes

As promised, here's the other variation on the sugar cookie bars that I've made. I'm sure you could come up with many other awesome desserts using this dough, too! I love a great, versatile recipe I can get creative with while being sure I'll come out with a great product.

This "recipe" is one I'm writing right now. When I made this, I used some extra dough from the big batch of pink sugar cookie bars I made and ended up with 6 "cupcakes". But I didn't take notes as I made these, so it's really more of a guess as to how many of these babies you'll actually end up with. If you make this, let me know how many this recipe made and I'll update this post! Side note: I took this dessert over to my neighbor's house for dinner since she's Muslim and needed to eat something halal. Though most desserts you probably make are halal since it mainly refers to how meat products (gelatin is included in this) are dealt with, it's good to know if you're ever in the same situation as me!

Again, you could top these with any fruit you wanted, but I like the contrast of the red and green together. I guess you could even deem these appropriate for a Christmas event? Maybe they're too summery. Christmas in the summer here confuses my normal thinking about it. I've been anticipating it because of the cold for months now.

Makes approximately 6 cupcakes, easily doubled for more


For the cookie base:
1/4 cup butter (or 1/2 stick)
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp baking powder

For topping:
About 4 oz. or 1/2 block of cream cheese, softened
1 to 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 kiwi
3 - 4 large strawberries


Grease the muffin cups with butter. For the cookie base, cream sugar and butter together in large bowl on medium speed for about 2 minutes. Mix in egg, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Blend in vanilla. Combine flour, salt, and baking soda. *Note: I like to do this step in a wire mesh strainer hooked to the top of my mixing bowl so that it sifts the flour at the same time, but you could also do it in separate bowl.* Add flour mixture to wet ingredients on low speed until just incorporated.

Press dough into muffin cups, about half of the way full. Bake them at 350 F for about 10 minutes. You will need to keep an eye on these because I don't remember how long I actually cooked them. Just make sure the edges are a bit browned and center is mostly set. If it's a little soft still that's probably good if you're like me and enjoy soft chewy cookies. Let fully cool before frosting.

For the topping, blend together the softened cream cheese, vanilla extract, and 1 cup confectioners sugar. Add more sugar as needed to reach desired consistency and taste. Frost cupcakes with the sweetened cream cheese. Dice up a kiwi and a few strawberries and use them for topping. Eat the leftovers, they're good for you. :)

PS: this post is my first one that I've "scheduled"! I feel like a real live blogger!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Sugar Cookie Bar Variations: Strawberry Lime Sugar Cookie Pizza

Hope you guys are having a nice day. I have had a great day. After prayer, Jordan took me by the new Nike store so I could get a new workout shirt and pants! Very fun. I have been trying to be really good about exercise this year, especially in the winter because I was feeling pretty stir crazy and lethargic. Exercise always helps this, and I find I'm much happier when I get in several workouts in a week. Bonus: it's actually been really fun to have somewhere already paid for to go [we got Scoopons for a local gym for $30 for 3 months!] since things can get a bit pricey here in Melbourne.

Now, to the food. Sorry about the incredibly long title! After I posted the sugar cookie bar recipe, I wanted to follow it up with a couple of variations I've made this year. I probably liked them better than the original recipe, and they are definitely more fancy! I made this a long time ago now and took it to a STINT dinner we were having, and everyone loved it! It's spring and strawberry season here, so I should really make it again since they are so cheap!

To make this variation on the traditional bars, mold the dough into a deep dish pizza pan. Alternately, you could use a jelly roll pan or any other pan with sides. This would just make the dough different heights. I decreased the amount of dough for these, but it still leaves a pretty thick cookie base for this fruit pizza with sweetened cream cheese as your "sauce." Since I love lime and strawberry flavors together, this was a fun combination for me to try. However, you could put any type of fruit you had onto this base and it would be awesome. Also, I think the more lime the better. I didn't put in as much as I could have in this - so feel free to add more. It would probably be delicious and more of a key lime cheesecake flavor. YUM.

Here's the recipe:



For the dough:
170 grams butter (or 1 1/2 sticks or 3/4 cup)
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Zest from one lime (or two or three!)
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 + 1/8 tsp baking soda

For the topping:
8 oz cream cheese at room temperature, or softened in the microwave
56 g or 1/4 cup butter at room temperature, or softened in the microwave
2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
4-5 tsp lime juice (or more)
Zest from one lime
Pint of strawberries


Grease pan lightly with butter. To make the cookie dough, cream sugar and butter together in large bowl on medium speed for about 2 minutes. Mix in eggs one at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Blend in vanilla and zest. Combine flour, salt, and baking soda. *Note: I like to do this step in a wire mesh strainer hooked to the top of my mixing bowl so that it sifts the flour at the same time, but you could also do it in separate bowl.* Add flour mixture to wet ingredients on low speed until just incorporated.

Press into deep dish pizza pan, or other pan with sides. *Note: you may need to adjust baking time if in a different pan.* Bake at 350 F (or 180 C) for about 10-15 minutes, until edges begin to brown and center is set. Let it cool completely before frosting.

To make the topping, cream together cream cheese and butter on medium speed until fluffy. Add sifted confectioners sugar and lime juice alternately. Stir in zest. If you choose to add more lime juice than the recipe calls for, you may need to add more sugar to reach the desired consistency. Spread evenly over the cookie base, leaving a bit of a border. Slice strawberries and arrange on top for a pretty presentation!